MATCH REPORT: Stars clinch superb match
Newport arrived at the Graves looking for only their second win of the season against the side they beat in their first, while the Stars wanted to take revenge for that defeat & keep on their league top three hopes.
The home side featured newly crowned British champion Andy Angell and another British finalist in Myke Grimes alongside Australian international Bobby McMillan, English international Gavin Parr, Scottish international Mikey Hewitson & Polish international Damian Zareba. Newport had a British finalist of their own in the form of Mark Carmichael, who captained a side with Scottish international Jamie Ball, Welsh internationals Oli Sidwick, Jacob Soper & Nicky Evans, and former British team champion Shaun Rudman.
Parr won heat one as Angell became a cropper after passing Sidwick but leaving a gap for Soper, leaving the British champion on the deck. Heat two was a drawn heat till Ball & Hewitson tangled and fell, with Hewitson first up off the floor to put the home side in front by two. However, Newport levelled the scores in heat three after McMillan went round Evans for what looked like a Sheffield 6-4, until Grimes slipped under the challenge of Carmichael for a Newport 6-4 instead.
Hudson came up the inside on the first bend to take the win in heat four, as Angell passed Sidwick to put the Stars back in front by two. That lead was increased to four in heat five when Watson passed Groves for another 6-4, and up to seven in heat six when Rudman fell & was lapped as Ball held of the challenge of Grimes behind McMillan. Heat seven saw the first maximum heat advantage of the match, as on the third time of asking the Parr-Angell pairing won straight from the gates, Sheffield now eleven clear and cruising. Heat eight gave Zareba his second win in the second drawn heat of the match, and then there was a third 5-5 in heat nine, once again straight from the gates, to leave the scores at the interval Sheffield 50, Newport 39.
The second half began as the first half ended, the only blip being a tapes exclusion for Groves, with the Watson-Grimes pairing taking a 5-4 over Ball, before Carmichael won from the Zareba-Hewitson pairing in heat eleven for a drawn heat as the home side kept up their twelve point lead. That became fourteen after heat twelve with a 6-4 from the Angell-Parr pairing, and then became eighteen after a Grimes-McMillan 7-3 in heat thirteen. Newport took a maximum heat advantage of their own in the next heat when Evans passed Hudson after foiling Hewitson’s pass attempts, while Zareba passed Carmichael and Watson passed Davies in heat fifteen to turn a 6-4 against into a 6-4 of their own.
Sheffield achieved another 6-4 in heat sixteen from the McMillan-Parr pairing, before Newport claimed the same in heat seventeen from the Carmichael-Ball pairing to keep their deficit at fifteen, which is what it remained at the end of the match after Grimes won from Soper & Baker when Zareba fell for a 5-5, ending the match with the scores Sheffield 97, Newport 81.
For the Stars, it was another resounding hone performance, as Bobby McMillan, Damian Zareba & Gavin Parr all lost just twice, while Andy Angell & Myke Grimes were unlucky not to pick up more points after suffering unlucky falls. For Newport, Mark Carmichael was by far the best rider, but lacked support apart from Jamie Ball & Jacob Soper, although Shaun Rudman put in several strong rides. However, Sheffield took the points in vengeance of their early season loss, pushing them up into the league rostrum positions, while Newport will want to push on in their final three matches to catch up to the fighting middle rankings.
Andy Angell 13+1 (5), Gavin Parr 16 (5), Damian Zareba 16 (5), Mikey Hewitson 7+1 (5), Bobby McMillan 16+2 (5), Myke Grimes 13+1 (5), Richard Hudson 9 (3), Adam Watson 7 (3), Niall Morton DNR
Oli Sidwick 8+1 (5), Jacob Soper 13+1 (5), Jamie Ball 13 (5), Shaun Rudman 10 (4), Nicky Evans 7+1 (4), Mark Carmichael 17 (5), Chris Davies 5 (3), Nathan Groves 6 (4), Andrew Baker 2+1 (1) Referee: Bob Prince (Birmingham)
Vicky Brown 12 (5), Kyle Holland 13+1 (4), Niall Morton 9+4 (4), Matt Parrott 11 (4), Ed Morton 7 (3), Rebecca Davies 4 (3), James Bunting 8+1 (3), plus 31 penalty points
Will Cartwright 14 (5), Jamie Ball 9 (4), Jacob Soper 12 (4), Andrew Baker 6 (5), Colin Simmons 11+1 (4), Chris Davies 13+2 (4) Referee: Chris Bingham (Sheffield)